Friday, May 6, 2011

"Khosla Biofuel IPO Draws Doubters"

From MIT's Technology Review:

As yet another biofuels company prepares for a stock offering, some wonder if the company is worthy of going public at all.
In 2004, a startup called Nanosys tried to go public. It had recruited some of the world's top nanoscientists for its board and had bought up hundreds of nanotech patents. The idea was that it could revolutionize TV displays, batteries, and maybe even golf balls. It had no product, but so what? Nanotech seemed like it could change everything.

That is when a venture capitalist named Vinod Khosla, then with Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield & Byers, cried fraud. A speech of Khosla's at Stanford University helped to not only torpedo the Nanosys IPO but also burst a short-lived nanotech bubble.

Here's what Khosla said at the time: "Personally, I think it is the wrong model for a company, and I think it is a shame that they are going public, because I do not think they are in a position to be predictable enough. And whether they are doing it knowingly or unknowingly, there is a reasonable likelihood that they will defraud the public market."

Now Khosla's the one being questioned. "I am looking at Vinod Khosla's S-1 filing of KiOR, which has a grand total of zero ($0) revenue," wrote venture capitalist Larry Bock in an e-mail. Bock cofounded Nanosys and was behind the aborted IPO. "Should Vinod be kept accountable?"...MORE
Here's the registration statement.